restoration of a wavetek 3000 signal generator
by ralph klimek 2014
The wavetek 3000 is a late seventies advanced multi PLL signal generator with coverage from 10Mhz to 500Mhz and numerous options for coverage and modulation methods.
This unit had been recovered from a dumpster and was non functional.  Recently a poor quality manual has been found on the internet.  I have extracted the images from this source and cleaned them up using the GIMP.
The recovered manual was used to find the many faults that were present and still present with this unit. My advice to people  finding one these units at a flea market or dumpster is to leave it there. There are too many problems with this unit due to the serviceman un-friendly construction methods, most notably needing to remove and open up numerous tin cans to get at the circuits.  Mine has been brought back to life in as far as the unit produces a constant level frequency stable output , that is, alas only loosely related to the thumbwheel settings !
First Fault
You will find that the +/-  18Volt supply rails are at zero volts.  This is due to numerous tantalum capacitors inside the many tins  having turned into short cicuits.  Finding them was the motivation for my Kelvin Probe project. The dead bug construction method has not contributed to reliability either.  Wavetek did not believe in using PCBs !  It has all been done with point to point wiring, nicely done, but it must have cost them a fortune in expensive american labour. I redid the PSU with three terminal regulators. Lets face it, the designers of three terminal regulators were better designers than me !

Second fault.
The power supplys did not use 3 terminal regulators, which were available when this unit was designed. Instead, they made their own regulators using the impossible to replace LM135 "indestructible" transistor. Guess what ?

Third Fault.
This is the one that even after all my work, will consign this unit to landfill. Lack of consistency in the manual means I cannot
really debug the electronics, the manual does not describe all the tin cans, only the basic default models units. My present fault condition renders the output frequency to be only loosely  related to the machines settings, but very stable !

Feint Praise.
The circuit design is highly advanced and I believe, that when this unit worked, it displayed unprecedented low phase noise and lack of spurious output.  The tin cans are not sealed, can be easily removed just by unscrewing the lockdown screw. It is not require to unsolder all the connectors....I was laboring ,incorrectly, under this illusion. The teflon terminal posts are actually a plug and socket !  The maintenance method was to indentify the failing tin can and return to manufacturer.

clicky clicky  here ! is the complete manual image archive !  I have downloaded the manual that has recently appeared (I have lost the reference but many many thanks to the kind person that scanned it and make it available.  I have doctored the scanned images  to remove crud and make them legible and printable  using the tools provided by the GIMP.
this is my manual archive  images are in ppm format
all these capacitors must be replaced. They will all become shorts or are shortsthe front panel pcb has been liberatedthe businesslike front panel
millions of tin cans. label the coaxs before removing them !  Not all the tins are described in the manual. Ouch.thumbwheel connectors. One of my thumbwheels has jammedoutput attenuator modules
the backplane provides many usefull test pointsthese are not just terminal posts, they are sockets ! Dont unsolder them !most of the tin cans contain this style of construction. It is very amatuer dead bug style, good for one off construction but it must have cost a fortune in labor. Maybe  I got the "missing prototype" unit ?
thumb.imgp6957-wavetek-module-internal.jpgon the left, IC sockets inside all the tin cans.  Intermittants anyone ? Why were they not soldered in, why no PCB ?  adjustments not reachable from outside the tin. Was my instrument the prototype ?

coming up my reworking of the manual. Warning, there are a couple of pages missing . Maybe the NSA hid them !
This is the only clean copy on the entire internet.  See above for my manual manual reconstruction.  When I finally get this unit running
properly I will rewrite the how it works section.  It is a very advanced,  interesting, if overley complicated  and badly implemented design.

Fri Mar 21 19:05:16 EST 2014